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Bangladesh, India for four more ports of call

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India and Bangladesh are now in talks to add four more ports of call in order to bolster bilateral trade through coastal routes, officials have said.

The proposed ports are Matarbari Port (Cox’s Bazar) and Muktarpur Port (Munshiganj) in Bangladesh, and Dhamra Port (Odisha) and Kamarajar Port (Chennai) in India.

Presently, each country has seven ports of call which are used to carry goods to and from India and Bangladesh under a bilateral coastal shipping deal.

The Bangladeshi inland ports are Chattogram, Mongla, Khulna, Paira, Narayanganj, Pangaon and Ashuganj while the Indian ports are Chennai, Krishnaptnam, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Haldia and Kolkata.

Officials said Bangladesh and India are now working on an amendment to the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the shipping agreement.

The four new ports of call will be added once the amendment to the SOP is made.

Gulf Orient Seaways Ltd managing director Sk Mahfuz Hamid said multiple ports need to be added as ports of call under the coastal shipping deal to facilitate carriage of goods.

Up till now, he told only the Bangladeshi vessels are carrying goods under the coastal shipping arrangement, thus benefitting the country.

On Monday, shipping secretary Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury said the proposal to include two more ports of call in each country came from the Indian side.

In the deep seaport of Matarbari, he said, there will be a provision of handling coastal vessels like Chattogram port.

.A representative of a mainline vessel operator in Dhaka said Summit Alliance Port Ltd’s inland water container terminal in Muktarpur has potential to handle the goods carried bilaterally.

It now handles export-import containers transported in and out through Chattogram port.

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